How To Improve As Subtlety Rogue — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.2.5

Last updated on Jun 24, 2019 at 23:57 by Ashine 73 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Subtlety Rogue in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.2.5. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.


Not Overcapping Resources

Since all of Subtlety's damage is tied to resources, it is important to waste as little of them as possible. You should make sure you do not find yourself being Energy capped or casting Combo Point generating abilities when at maximum Combo Points.


Pooling Energy

Pooling Energy has been a vital part of optimal Subtlety gameplay for a long time now. Often players tend to go into Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance without enough Energy which makes them unable to get the maximum amount of globals in the short burst window. Since Subtlety revolves around these burst windows, you want to make sure you get most out of them.

You should aim to have at least 60 Energy and use Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death instantly to get close to the Energy cap when going into Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance burst windows.


Getting the Maximum Amount of Shadowstrikes Inside a Shadow Dance

With the single-target build, you should always get 4 Shadowstrike Icon Shadowstrikes and 1 Eviscerate Icon Eviscerate whenever you use Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance. Always enter Shadow Dance with a good amount of Energy and 0-1 Combo Points.


Using Cooldowns Together

On single-target, you should always use Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance, Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death, and Secret Technique Icon Secret Technique (if talented) together. If you find yourself in a position where the cooldowns are heavily desynced, it is better to wait until they align again. The only scenario where you would want to use them alone on single-target is when a boss fight is about to be over and you realize that the other cooldowns will not be ready.

On multi-target situations, you should use Secret Technique Icon Secret Technique on cooldown, due to the cooldown reduction component of the talent. Don't ever hold Secret Technique for Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death if it comes at the expense of wasting precious cooldown reduction. Instead, if you have Shadow Dance Icon Shadow Dance charges, combine Secret Technique with Shadow Dance everytime it comes off cooldown.


Correctly Managing Nightblade

Aim to have 100% uptime on Nightblade Icon Nightblade. This means that plan to refresh it when your Symbols of Death Icon Symbols of Death is about to be ready so you do not have to refresh it during your burst window. If you are playing the single-target build, you can freely refresh your Nightblade whenever it is about to drop off from your target. However, with the multi-target (Mythic+) build, if you find yourself in a position where Nightblade drops off during your Shadow Dance, it is better to wait until the Shadow Dance burst window is over and refresh it afterwards.


Knowing How To Sim Yourself

It is impossible to correctly play and optimize a Subtlety Rogue without using Raidbots to sim your own character, there are simply too many variables involved to intuitively figure out what gear to wear and so on without simming it first. Generally speaking, a simulation should be the first and final say in the gear you end up wearing for any given situation.

On top of this, simming is now very easy with no need to understand SimulationCraft APLs or installation yourself. All you will need is the in-game SimulationCraft AddOn, and the Raidbots website. Below you can find a video on how to sim your own character using the website.


Analyzing Your Mistakes as a Subtlety Rogue

When it comes to identifying and improving your mistakes, we strongly recommend the website WoWAnalyzer — it will analyze your logs and give you a report detailing how you did on the problems above and more.



  • 24 Jun. 2019: This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
  • 15 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed for Crucible of Storms and no changes are necessary.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 03 Aug. 2018: Updated page to reflect the current talent build meta.
Show more
Show less